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Topic: Q for JB: Crowded Combat Choreography (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 18 February 2010 at 4:25am | IP Logged | 1  

JB,

I'm reading your Doom Patrol series for the first time. I read the first few issues last night and realized that I was seeing yet another great fight scene featuring a large number of characters all fighting at once. In all the scenes of this type that I've encountered in your work over the years, I've never seen an example, in your work, of problems such as the reader getting "lost" in all the chaos, the fight seeming to be too short or dragged out for too long, or all the chaos making it unclear what is happening. You always manage to capture the energy and clamor of battle without ever screwing up so that it's unclear what is happening or who is where in the scene.

I was wondering what points go through your mind when planning and executing a scene like that and what the biggest potential mistakes are that a writer or artist must try to avoid when portraying a big, crowded fight.   

Thanks.



Edited by Aaron Smith on 18 February 2010 at 4:36am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 February 2010 at 6:37am | IP Logged | 2  

A while back someone asked me how I handle the placement of characters in "crowded" commission pieces, and my answer there was much the same as how I approach fight scenes.

I start by figuring out which character, or characters, will take up the most space, either because they are themselves large, or because they have wings or big capes or something of that nature, and, having placed them in the shot, I then utilize the "negative space" around them, paying attention to the "silhouette" of each character as s/he is added.

I do basically the same thing with background elements. If there is something that needs to be clearly visible, I place that first in the shot and work around it (following the same "rule" as above).

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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 18 February 2010 at 6:51am | IP Logged | 3  

Thanks for the answer, JB.

I can think of numerous times over the years where I've gotten lost in the process of reading a fight scene, to the point where I have to say "What just happened?" or even go back and see if I missed something.

That's never happened in anything you've drawn, so I was pretty sure you had some sort of plan or method that you used on such occasions.  

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Derek Cavin
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Posted: 18 February 2010 at 7:39am | IP Logged | 4  

JB knows how to maximize a panel when necessary.
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William Lukash
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Posted: 18 February 2010 at 11:05am | IP Logged | 5  

This is a timely subject.  I'm getting ready to draw some big battle scenes and hadn't even though of this question.  I'm glad JB had a good answer.
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Stephen Churay
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Posted: 18 February 2010 at 9:27pm | IP Logged | 6  

Aaron, if you haven't seen it yet, you should check out JB's Fourth World work. It's got some great fight scenes with large crowds.
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Carmen Bernardo
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Posted: 19 February 2010 at 6:07am | IP Logged | 7  

Ditto, William.  JB has a good philosophy concerning art direction.

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William McMahon
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Posted: 19 February 2010 at 1:29pm | IP Logged | 8  

There might be a section in How To Make and Draw Comics where Big John Buscema writes that he draws a "floorplan" of the scene to know where the background elements fall. I'm wondering JB if you do this as well, only it may be that your mind is able to hold that floorplan without having to sketch it out?

Edited by William McMahon on 19 February 2010 at 1:30pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 19 February 2010 at 2:34pm | IP Logged | 9  

I don't actually DRAW a floorplan, but I do usually hold one in my head. All those years spent at my Father's side, watching him working as a freelance architect, trained me to deal with enclosed spaces, walls and floors and ceilings.
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William McMahon
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Posted: 19 February 2010 at 4:14pm | IP Logged | 10  

Thought that might be the case. As I've posted before, you have never, to my recollection (and I go right back to Iron Fist) confused me in your story telling. And it's great to know something more about your Dad, I learned a lot from mine who was a doctor just having all the medical and anatomy books around for questions and reference.
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